There is a gap in our healthcare system for homeless persons who are too sick to be on the streets, but aren't critically ill enough to warrant inpatient hospitalization. "Medical respite care is acute and post-acute care for persons experiencing homelessness who are too ill or frail to recover from a physical illness or injury on the streets but are not ill enough to be in a hospital. Unlike 'respite' for caregivers, 'medical respite' is a short term residential care that allows individuals experiencing homelessness the opportunity to rest in a safe environment while accessing medical care and other supportive services." (National Healthcare for the Homeless Council) The State of Florida records a 30% re-admittance rate for those who are unhoused creating longer healing time and a financial burden for the healthcare system.
According to Florida State Statutes, hospitals are not permitted to discharge patients to 'homeless'. We believe that our area hospitals are doing their best to adhere to this law, but the challenge remains clear. Prior to opening the Recuperative Care Center (RCC) , we coordinated with area hospitals and other agencies to provide clients with hotel rooms for needed recovery time. This was a better plan than sleeping outdoors, but not a practical long term solution - financially or logistically.
The RCC is open and provides both hospital diversion and post-hospitalization sheltered recuperative rest, with 24 hour staffing, nutritious meals, transportation to follow up medical care and fulfillment of nonnarcotic medications. This vital program will reduce hospitalizations and the necessity for re-admission.